A long time ago I stumbled upon a wonderful recipe while surfing on the delectable foodgawker.com . I cooked it on a blustery and cold December day while my poor husband was outside covering the plants for their long winter sleep. This soup warmed the cockles of his heart and there were nary any leftovers.
The soup is really quite humble in its construction with ingredients which are basic and easily (not to mention cost effectively) assembled. Bursting with spoonable chunks of tortellini, beans, kielbasa and spinach the results cannot be confused with a first course, like a dainty bisque. This soup means business and is a full meal in itself. ‘Herzhaft’, or ‘hearty’ is the perfect adjective, and my family loves it. Well, except for young Mr. No-Thank-You Boy.
I did make some alterations in the ingredients to suit our palate, but I encourage you to visit the website for the original version. I reduce the amount of broth and substitute water, as the kielbasa and tortellini contribute to the saltiness of the soup. We also wanted the garlic to taste less overwhelming and reduced that from six cloves to one or two. The spinach we use tends to be fresh, as it is practically a staple in our home.
1 tbsp olive oil
16oz cooked kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced (we use a reduced fat kielbasa)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, or 2 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp dried pepper flakes
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 cups water
1 packaged frozen chopped spinach, or 3 large handfuls fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups cooked cannellini , or Northern Beans, well drained and rinsed.
1 12oz package cheese tortellini
salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese for serving
Brown the kielbasa in a large, pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion after about 7-10 minutes and saute while stirring periodically. When the onion starts to take on a glassy, translucent appearance, stir in garlic, thyme and red pepper. Stir this about for a minute at most and then add the broth and water. Bring to a lazy boil and add the beans and spinach, reduce temperature to a slow simmer. Simmer for a few minutes, and then add the tortellini. Let them cook to the manufacturers specification. Most need between 5-7 minutes. Adjust to taste with added salt and pepper. Serve topped with grated parmesan.